Are you stuck in a boring job that you don't like because the thought of applying for another job and going to an interview is just too frightening? Does the thought of going to an interview make you feel sick and bring up thoughts of all the things that could go wrong? Do you find it difficult to talk to new people because you think they will judge you or make you feel stupid? Do you find yourself going red with embarrassment when someone talks to you?

If that's the case then you may well be stuck in an unsatisfactory job, watching as people who are far less suitable or qualified than you take all the good jobs and move up the career ladder.

So what is the alternative? Gritting your teeth and psyching yourself up is one option but it's not very attractive so is unlikely to spur you into action and get you reading through the job adverts. Another option is to find out more about your anxiety so that you can start to take control over it and learn how to minimise the uncomfortable aspects of it so that you become less restricted.

Cognitive behaviour therapy helps you to understand more about why you react in certain ways and what you can do to change that. It helps you to identify what type of thing makes you nervous and think about alternative ways of reacting to those situations. Just knowing why and what to do though doesn't mean that it will necessarily make it easier. You probably already know how you'd like to behave in an interview situation - or in fact any situation that currently causes you anxiety.

The problem is that you have an ingrained habit that is automatically telling you how to behave. It uses the same part of your mind that automatically takes you on your journey home or that supplies the words when you sing along to your favourite song. It takes a very conscious effort to do things differently and it just doesn't feel right. If you hear a cover version of a famous song it never sounds quite right because you're so used to the original. If you keep hearing it then you may start to accept it and may even come to prefer it to the original. The same thing can happen with your reactions to anxiety.

To start off with you need to know how you would like to react. Think about what you would like to do and feel and phrase it positively. For instance you might start off thinking that in your ideal world you would want to "not blush" or "not panic". The problem with those phrases though are that you're still focusing on the old way of doing things and the old feelings and you're not giving your mind any new alternatives.

Imagine that you're in a cake shop and you ask the assistant for a cake. The assistant offers you a chocolate one. "I don't want chocolate." They bring you one with icing on. "I don't like icing." They bring you a ginger cake. "I hate ginger." By now the assistant would be justified in asking, "Well can you tell me what you do want?" Give your mind a chance by telling it what you do want.

If you find it difficult to think positively then think about what the opposite to your current behaviour would be. The opposite to blushing and panicking would be "I feel calm when other people talk to me, I breathe easily, I feel in control of my body, I feel confident about my abilities". Now you're telling yourself how you want to feel and react.

Be very specific in how you want to feel and behave; go into as much detail as you can because the more detail you imagine, the clearer it becomes in your mind. If you said to someone "I want something to eat" then you could end up being disappointed when they make a guess and give you something you don't like. If you said "I want a cheese sandwich on brown bread" then you're much more likely to get that and if you describe the type of cheese you want as well then, as long as it's available, you should end up getting exactly what you wanted.

If you've always been anxious in an interview situation then your mind currently doesn't have any role model for being confident at an interview so you'll need to explain to it what you want to happen. Find somewhere quiet where you can imagine your ideal interview situation. Let it run smoothly, like a dream. Rerun it and improve on it if you need to. See yourself smiling and looking calm. Hear your voice speaking confidently. Feel how comfortable it is when you have control. See the interviewer nodding in agreement and understanding as you speak, smilng back at you in a friendly way and hear the conversation flowing smoothly. Do this regularly so that you become used to it.

An excellent time to do this would be as you go to bed at night because you will be making use of the trance like state you drift into as you go to sleep. If there are any anxious thoughts that come into this visualisation then go back and make any relevant changes that make the thoughts disappear. If you have difficulty visualising things and don't see the situation - don't worry, focus on how you feel in the situation.

Running these positive thoughts over and over in your mind should reduce your anxiety. To speed things up and make it easier I would recommend seeing a hypnotherapist as they will be able to help you change things on a subconscious level. It's also easier to make changes when you have an alternative point of view because your mind can think about things in a way that you might not naturally on you own. It's the same with anything that you learn, if you have an expert showing you what to do it's much easier than trying to figure it out on your own.

Author's Bio: 

Sharon Stiles uses hypnosis, NLP, CBT and energy psychology to help people reduce anxiety and stress. She offers individual sessions in Bristol UK or by webcam, online seminars and teleseminars and MP3 downloads. More details at www.sharonstiles.co.uk/getridofanxiety.asp